Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Cafeby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Café is a counter service restaurant sandwiched between Adventureland and Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. Many a yarn has been spun regarding this particular spot, one which I would like very much to dispel. There is not a salad bar at Pecos Bill. That is a toppings bar for the meals you purchase at the counter. I get the confusion, for it is a rare sight indeed to see food seemingly free for the taking. However, as the plates at this establishment keep shrinking in possible retaliation for the misuse and abuse of this accoutrement oasis, I fear that soon they will be serving burgers atop a thimble.
The atmosphere inside is minimal, with an overall cowboy motif punctuated by a few pictures. The real benefit of eating here is the amount of available seating. Tables fill multiple rooms inside, with outdoor courtyards on both sides and tables with umbrellas beyond that. Even on a busy day, it is usually possible to get a table here without resorting to fisticuffs.
One complaint I had was that when we tried to order a gluten free hamburger, instead of being polite and helpful as most cast members are, we were handed a tattered book of entrees and their ingredients which read like Japanese stereo instructions. In lieu of doing our own research, much to our future lament, we just ordered my daughter the nachos.
Armed with a sampling of the choices, here's what we thought of each.
Beef fajitas – It seems a rather small portion for the cost. Two small tortillas are served in aluminum foil with just enough beef, rice, and beans to almost fill them. As for calling this steak, that seems a stretch. I'm willing to say it was meat, but when and where it was cooked and how long it lay in a warming tray saddens me. Only the toppings bar, which had fresh Pico de Gallo and pickled jalapenos made it acceptable.
Chicken fajitas – The chicken was flavorful and moist, seemingly better suited for the journey from the central kitchen, though still scant in quantity for filling two tortillas.
Hamburger – The hamburger was the best of the bunch, though it was not great. The ability to create your own topping tower helped to cover up the amount of time it took to ship the beef patty from wherever it was sent. The bun was great and the tortilla chips that accompanied it took full advantage of the salsa at the toppings bar.
Nachos – I assume that this entree is just an off-label taco salad based on how most others utilized theirs. Bowls are so heaped with lettuce, tomatoes and toppings that they leave a trail of garnishes like Hansel and Gretel. We found the meat substance that tops this culinary reprobate to be unacceptable. If a high school cafeteria sloppy joe and a can of chili had a baby, there you go.
I try very hard to find what's right with places instead of what's wrong, but Pecos Bill seems an unremarkable choice. For nearly the same price I would recommend the Skipper Canteen. Truly the only things I can enthusiastically recommend about Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Café are the toppings bar and the ample air conditioned seating. To be fair, on a busy day at the Magic Kingdom, those can be enough to tip the scales in their favor.
Dad (41): 2.4 of 5 – The quality of most meats served here ruin what is an appealing and appreciated self service toppings bar. Being able to find a table in the cool air on a hot summer day makes it worth going back and having the burger.
- Food Quality: 2.0 of 5
- Value for money spent: 2.5 of 5
- Ambiance: 3.0 of 5
Mom (41): 2.2 of 5 – Seemed as expensive as much better restaurants within a stone's throw. The chicken fajitas were good if a little bland.
Daughter (17): 1.7 of 5 – Ordering a gluten free bun for a hamburger would have added nearly ten minutes to the wait. Instead she ended up with nachos, which has taken this restaurant off her list.
Son (15): 3.1 of 5 – The bun on the burger was excellent. Being able to add his own toppings ensured he didn't end up with wilted lettuce and a dry burger. He would happily go here again.